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Wind Generator 


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Wind Generator 

Written By: Abe Connally 


Ammeter (1) 

Compass (1) 

Crescent wrench (1) 

Drill (1) 

Flathead screwdriver (1) 

Jigsaw (1) 

Level (1) 

Marker (1) 

Metal punch (1) 
or awl 

Pipe wrench (1) 

Protractor (1) 

Ropes (1) 

Shovel (1) 


Tape measure (1) 

Thread-tapping set (1) 

and/or clamp 

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• Treadmill motor (1) 

• Bridge rectifier (1) 

• Copper wire (1) 

Enough length for both a red and black 
piece to run from the top of the tower, 
down through length of pole, to batteries. 
We recommend at least #8 wire, but if 
your tower will be sited a long distance 
away from your batteries, you may need 
a heavier gauge. 

• Spade connectors (4) 
for bridge rectifier 

• Heat-shrink tubing (1) 
or electrical tape 

• Battery bank (1) 

We recommend deep-cycle lead-acid 
storage batteries, and a total battery 
bank capacity of at least 200 amp- hours. 

• Regulator (1) 

or charge controller 

• Fused) 

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Wind Generator 

Wheelbarrow (1) 
Wire strippers (1) 

PVC pipe (2' length) 

If PVC is UV-resistant. you will not need 

to paint it. 

Bolts (6) 

Washers (9) 

Lock washers (6) 

Hose clamp (1) 

Sheet metal (1 sq. ft.) 

Mounting screws (9) 

Metal tubing (36") 
or 1 " angle iron 

Floor flange pipe fitting (1) 

Pipe nipple (1) 

Mounting screw (2) 

Hose clamps (2) 

Steel pipe (1) 

Pipe nipple (2) 

Pipe nipple (1) 

Pipe elbows (2) 

. • PipeT(1) 

Quick-mix concrete (3-Feb) 

Sheet metal screws (4) 

Guy wire (1) 

with a working load of 200 pounds 

U-bolt (1) 

Stakes (4) 
Turnbuckles (4) 


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Wind Generator 

There are no limits to what you can do with wind power. It's abundant, clean, cheap, and 
easy to harness. We designed this Chispito Wind Generator (that's Spanish for "little spark") 
for fast and easy construction. Most of the tools and materials you need to build it can be 
found in your local hardware shop or junk pile. We recommend that you search your local 
dump or junkyards for the pieces required. Or, if you live in a city, search for salvaged parts, and see if you can install one on your roof. 

We believe that anyone can be in control of where his or her electricity comes from, and 
there is nothing more rewarding and empowering than making a wind-powered generator 
from scrap materials. Remember: puro yonke (pure junk) is best! 

Chispito Wind Generator 

Guy wire 

Bridge rectifier 

Load (lights, radio, etc.) 

Guy coupling 

Stake Hinge in concrete 

Fuse box 

Charge controller 


Electric wires 

• Here is an illustration listing all the 
components of the wind generator 
that we'll be building. 

• For the motor, you may use any 
other simple, permanent-magnet 
DC motor that returns at least 1 V 
for every 25 rpm and can handle 
upwards of 10 amps. Our treadmi 
motor is rated at 5A, no load, and 
we've found that the coils can 
withstand 15A going through them 
without heating up. 

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Wind Generator 

• Place the 24" length of PVC pipe 
and square tubing (or other straight 
edge) side by side on a flat 
surface. Push the pipe tight against 
the tubing and mark the line along 
the length of the tube. This is Line 

• Starting from Line A, draw parallel 
lines at 75-degree intervals along 
the length of the pipe. You should 
have a total of five lines on your 
pipe as shown in figure. Note that 
one strip will have an arc width of 
only 60 degrees. That's OK. 

• Use a jigsaw to cut along the lines, 
splitting the tube into five strips. 
Four will be wider than the fifth 
(60°) strip. Set the 60° strip aside 
for now. 

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Wind Generator 

• Place the four 75° strips concave- 
side-down. For each one, make a 
mark 20% of the width of the strip 
from one corner along the 
diagonally opposite side as shown. 

• Mark a diagonal line between the 
two marks you just made on each 
piece, and use the jigsaw to cut 
along these lines. You should wind 
up with eight identically shaped 
trapezoidal blades. You can trim a 
ninth blade out of the 60° strip left 
over. You now have enough blades 
for three generators, or plenty of 
spares for one generator. 

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Wind Generator 

.50 (W) 


.15 (W) 

• Now you are going to cut one 
corner from each blade. 

• First, measure the width of the 
blade (if you are using an 8" 
diameter PVC pipe as your stock, it 
should be about 5.75" wide). Call 
this value W. 

• Then make a mark along the 
diagonal edge of the blade, a 
distance of W/2 from the wide end 
(3" is good enough if you are using 
8" PVC). 

• Make another mark on the wide 
end of the blade at 15% of W from 
the long straight edge (1" with 8" 

• Connect these two marks and cut 
along the line. Removing this 
corner prevents the blades from 
interfering with each other's wind. 

• The blades should look like the 
ones shown in the figure. Pick the 
three best ones of the batch. 

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Wind Generator 

• You can make the tail any 
shape you want, as long as 
the end result is stiff rather than 
floppy. The exact dimensions of the 
tail are not important, but you'll 
want to use about one square foot 
of lightweight material, preferably 

• Using the 5/32" drill bit, drill two or 
three holes, spaced evenly, in the 
front end of the tail. 

• Then place the tail on one end of 
the square tubing, noting that it will 
attach to what will become either 
the right or left side of the tubing, 
as the generator sits upright. 

• Mark the tubing through the tail 

• Drill holes in the square tubing at 
the marks you just made. 

• Attach the tail to the tube with 
sheet metal screws. (Or you can 
do this later, so it doesn't get in the 

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Wind Generator 

Step 6 — Attach the 3 blades 

• For each blade, mark two holes 
along the long, right-angle side of 
the blade (as opposed to the long 
diagonal side), at the wide end, 
next to the cut-off corner. The first 
hole should be 2" from the long 
side and " from the end, and the 
second hole should be 2" from the 
straight edge and 1" from the end. 

• Using the 1/4" drill bit, drill these 
six holes for the three blades. 

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Wind Generator 

• Detach the hub from the motor shaft. With our motor, we removed the hub by holding the 
end of the shaft firmly with pliers and turning the hub clockwise. This hub unscrews 
clockwise, counter to the usual direction, which is why the blades turn counterclockwise. 

• Using a compass and protractor, make a template of the hub on a piece of paper. Then 
mark three holes, each of which is 2 3/8" from the center of the circle, 120 degrees apart, 
equidistant from each other. 

• Place this template over the hub and use a metal punch or awl to punch a starter hole 
through the paper and onto the hub at each hole. 

• Drill the holes with the 7/32" drill bit, then tap them with the 1/4" tap. 

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Wind Generator 

• Attach the blades to the hub using 
1/4" bolts, running them through the 
holes closest to the ends of the 
blades. At this point, the three 
outer holes on the hub have not 
been drilled. 

Step 9 

• Measure the distances between the tips of each blade, and adjust them so that they are all 

• Then mark and punch starter holes for the three outer holes on the hub through the empty 
holes in each blade. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 10 

• Label the blades and hub so that 
you can match which blade goes 

• Remove the blades, and drill and 
tap the three outer holes on the 

Step 11 

• Position each blade in its place on 
the hub, so that all the holes line 

• Using the 1/4" bolts and washers, 
bolt the blades back onto the hub. 

• For the inner three holes, use two 
washers per bolt, one on each side 
of the blade. For the outer holes, 
just use one washer next to the 
head of the bolt. Tighten. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 12 — Assemble the generator, 

• Drill a 1/4" hole in the tubing, about 
5 inches from the front end of the 
tube, opposite the tail holes end, on 
any side. 

• Place the bridge rectifier over the 
hole, and screw it to the tubing 
using a #10 sheet metal screw. 

Step 13 

• Using hose clamps, mount the 
motor on the end opposite the tail. 

• Do not tighten the clamps, 
because you will make a 
balance adjustment later. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 14 

• Crimp spade connectors onto the 
black and red wires from the motor 
and connect them to the two AC 
voltages in terminals on the bridge 
rectifier, L1 and L2. 

• Insulate connections with heat- 
shrink tubing or electrical tape. 

Step 15 

• If you haven't already, attach the 

• Re-attach the blade assembly on 
the motor. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 16 

• Now we'll attach the tower mount. Using a pipe wrench, screw the nipple tightly into the 
floor flange. 

• Clamp the nipple in a vise so the floor flange faces up and is level. 

• Set the generator on the flange/nipple and balance it by adjusting the position of the motor, 
then tighten the hose clamps down. Mark spots in the square tubing that match up with the 
flange holes. 

• Drill these two holes using a 5/32" drill bit. (You will probably have to take off the hub and 
tail to do this.) 

• Attach the square tubing to the floor flange with two sheet metal screws. 

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Page 14 of 19 

Wind Generator 

Step 17 — Plant the tower base. 

The tower is one of the most important components in your wind generator system. 
It must be strong, stable, easily raised and lowered, and well anchored. 

Dig a round hole about 1 foot in diameter and 2 feet deep. 

Feed the 6" x 1-1/4" steel pipe nipple through the horizontal part of the 1-1/2"" steel pipe T. 

Screw the pipe elbows onto each end of the nipple, one on either side of the T, so that they 
both point in the same direction. 

Screw the two 2' x 1-1/4" pipe nipples into the free ends of the elbows. 

Set this hinged base assembly in the hole, so that the T just clears the ground. Dig around, 
adjust, and position things so that the 2' nipples point straight down and the horizontal part 
of the T is perfectly level. 

With the base properly positioned, mix some concrete and pour it into the hole. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 18 — Erect and stay the tower. 

• NOTE: The higher your ^^ 
tower is, the more wind your I * i 
generator will catch, and the more 
power it will produce. 

• Drill a large hole about 1 foot from 
the bottom of the 10'-30' pipe, for 
the copper wires to exit. 

• Screw the pipe into the vertical part 
of the base's hinged T. 

• Make four strong, flexible rings out 
of guy wire, about 5 inches in 
diameter. For each ring, loop the 
wire around several turns, and 
twist it closed. 

• Place the 1-1/2" U-bolt around the 
pipe, 3 feet from the top of the pipe. 
Thread the four wire loops around 
the U-bolt, and space them evenly 
around the pipe. Then tighten the 
nuts of the U-bolt. 

• Secure a guy wire to each of the 
loops on the U-bolt. Also loop the 
ropes (safety ropes) through loops 
on opposite sides of the pole. 

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Page 16 of 19 

Wind Generator 

Step 19 

• Position the four stakes, spacing them evenly apart at a distance away from the base 
that's at least 50% of the tower's height. 

• For our 15-foot-tall pole, we positioned the stakes 12 feet away from the base. 

• Then drive the stakes firmly into the ground, slightly angling them away from the base. Or, 
for greater strength and permanence, dig holes 2 feet into the ground, and set the stakes in 

• Wire a turnbuckle to each stake, using several strands of guy wire. 

• Raise the pole up and tie each of the safety ropes to something solid, like a truck or a 
building (this is where having another person or two really helps). Attach the guy wires to 
the turnbuckles. 

• Hold the pole straight upright, and tighten all turnbuckles to ensure a secure fit. 

• Mark the front turnbuckle for future reference, so you know how far you need to screw it 
back in when you're re-raising the pole. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 20 — Wire and mount the generator. 

• Release the front guy wire and lower the pole to the ground. 

• Feed two lengths of #8 wire, red and black, down through the pole and out through the hole 
in the bottom of the pipe. Then wrap the bottom ends of the two wires together, to create a 
closed circuit. 

• This is a safety precaution; it puts a load on the wind generator to prevent it from 
spinning around fast while you're working on it. 

• Slide the generator assembly over the top of the pole. 

Pull the pole wires up through the 
mount, strip the ends, and crimp 
them into spade connectors. 

Plug the red wire into the DC+ 
terminal of the spade connector 
(which will probably be 
perpendicular to the others), and 
the black wire into the DC terminal 

Insulate connections with heat- 
shrink tubing or electrical tape. 

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Wind Generator 

Step 22 

Raise the pole by pulling the front guy wire into place, and tighten the turnbuckle to the 
mark made earlier. 

Unwrap the ends of the wires and wire up your system as shown in the schematic. 

Connect a regulator, an ammeter, a fuse, and a stop switch on the positive line coming 
from the generator, between the generator and the battery bank. Refer to the 
manufacturer's instructions. 

Then hook up the battery bank, and watch it fill up with free power! 

This project originally appeared in MAKE Volume 05 . 

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This document was last generated on 201 2-1 2-1 04:1 0:20 PM. 

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